April 17, 2009
/ by Heidi Sullivan
I get the same questions all the time: Do I need a Facebook Fan Page? Should I be on Twitter? I really should start a blog, right? What should I be posting to YouTube?
All great questions, but here’s the rub: there’s not a universal answer for any of them. I typically answer all of these questions starting with this:
“Before diving in to social media, ask yourself these three questions:
Without the answers to these questions, you risk getting involved just to get involved – and not having any results to show for it. So when I see an example of a company using social media the right way, I can’t wait to share it.
Which brings us to For Rent Media Solutions.
For Rent Media Solutions is a long-standing, well-respected company in the multi-family housing market – and has been for 25 years. However, the company is not only sticking with the tried-and-true methods that have worked for them for years – they are staying ahead of the times by increasing their social footprint through getting involved in social media in all sorts of ways, from Twitter interactions to video contests to Facebook applications.
The results have been incredible – greater brand awareness, increased value for advertisers and more visitors to ForRent.com than ever. Let’s take a look at what they did right – and how you can apply what For Rent has learned to your social media campaigns.
For Rent publishes both national and regional magazines that feature apartment communities available to renters. More recently, the company added their presense online at ForRent.com, providing a free, customizable search for over 50,000 apartment listings nationwide.
So why get involved in social media?
“The success of our company has been built on the quality of the relationships we have with our advertisers and the quality of experience we provide for our customers. Social media really speaks to that – it gives consumers even more opportunity to interact with your brand,” said Brock MacLean, senior vice president of national sales and development for For Rent. “We use social media to build on the core principles of strong relationships and extend those to where consumers interact today.”
For Rent began interacting with customers through their blog in 2006. Since then, they have expanded their network to Twitter, Facebook and other social sites. They have now launched a site that syndicates video content to YouTube, AOL Video and more. Videos (like the one below) show not only apartments and facilities, but neighborhoods as well. All of this interaction helped draw visitors to their site, improve the quality of the customer experience and increase brand awareness.
At the beginning of the month, ForRent.com launched its second annual video contest, Ready2Move. The contest asks apartment seekers to tell ForRent.com why they are ready to move for a chance to win $10,000. Users can participate not only on the ForRent.com site, but also directly through a Facebook application.
“The Facebook application will have essentially all the same features as the video contest site with the added benefit of Facebook integration,” said MacLean. “By tapping into users’ social actions we will be able to utilize valuable word of mouth marketing and spread awareness about our brand organically. A funny and catchy news feed update stating someone is ready to move is sure to get attention and promote viral discovery of not only the contest but our brand.”
For Rent launched their first nationwide video contest last year, which yielded a 57 percent increase in site traffic and a 20.1 percent boost in college-age visitors (a key demographic for the company). Through their contests and social media involvement, For Rent has added value for their advertisers because there are now more potential renters visiting the site, improved the customer experience and increased interactivity and brand awareness.
What are some of your social media success stories?
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